Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Mrs Stylebook blouse

Pattern Review Get Together

Since my last post, I attended a Pattern Review get-together in Baltimore, MD. It was so exciting to meet some of the folks that moderate discussion topics and post at PR. PR members KatieN, ChrisBryant, and Paula and I headed north early that morning. We met up with the others at The Fabric Place, a small independent fabric store packed with lovely fabrics. Michael of Michael's Fabric , as well as his family, was there to greet us. They gave us lots of discounts, deals, and great service! We got to meet Deepika, Cidell, JaneS, RobinD, Kiva, Karen1234, Cindy Lou. ChristineS, and many others. I must say that people in the flesh do not always look like their avatars or review picture. I did not recognize Robin until she introduced herself. Deepika is much more petite than I expected, Cidell taller, and on and on. As people walked into the store, many were greeted with guesses as to both their PR name and the patterns used to make the outfits they were wearing. After the shopping, many of the attendees met at a nearby restaurant for a wonderful meal and lots of sewing talk. We discussed how the Internet was improving our knowledge of sewing, and pushing us to higher levels of achievement (and spending). We talked about dress forms, industrial machines, where we did our sewing, sewing for others, etc.. It was all about sewing! Wonderful! Our group stopped at the Rockville, MD G Street fabric store on the way home. Each of us had printed off extra copies of the online G Street coupons, in case the others forgot theirs. None of us had, but we had no problem finding takers for the extras. I kept to my “no more fabric” resolution at The Fabric Place, but by the time I reached G Street, my will power was gone.

Mrs Stylebook Blouse

In my continuing quest to use international pattern magazines, I made my first Mrs. Stylebook garment. I have two Mrs. Stylebooks (MSB), Japanese pattern books, Issues 149 - 2008 Spring and 150 – 2008 Summer. I bought them from eBay vendor "pomadour24" for about $25.00 postage paid, but she sells them on www.Etsy under the same name for half that price. Of course I didn’t find that out until after I bought them on eBay! There are about three printed patterns in each magazine. For the other 60+ garments, there are only instructions for drafting the patterns using a sloper as the starting point. There are also instructions for drafting the sloper in the magazine. There are two different slopers. One is unstructured, falling straight from the bust, with no darts. The other is very fitted, with many darts. Some of the patterns use the unstructured sloper, some use the other. I do not have any pattern drafting experience and I found it fairly easy to draft the sloper using only the pictures.

I drafted the loose fitting sloper using my measurements. The only measurements needed are full bust and back length. All the rest of the measurements are based on these two. My sloper was drawn on a 25” x 30” sheet of easel pad paper with ½ grid lines. Because I used cm measurements, the grid lines were used only for maintaining horizontal and vertical consistency. I did not cut the sloper out.

When I completed the sloper, I compared the arm and neck hole openings to the Palmer Pletch sloper that I recently had fitted by a professional. They matched almost perfectly.

For my first attempt at drafting a pattern, I chose a loose fitting blouse with a slightly gathered neck, elbow length sleeves with a sewn on frill. Number 11 on page 79 of Issue 150. Pattern drafting instructions are on page 196 and 197. To draft the blouse pattern, I laid a piece of pattern making paper (I use the type of paper that is rolled out on the Dr’s examination table) over the sloper, traced the essential sloper lines and made the drafting changes per the diagram, keeping the pattern paper over the sloper the entire time. The grid lines on the sloper paper were helpful when drafting the pattern. For the most part I was able to understand what changes needed to be made and why. The picture below has the drafting diagram. The original sloper shape is shaded blue. I added my written notes describing the changes.
I know I sound like an analytical nerd when I say that I enjoyed the drafting process immensely. It was almost like doing a puzzle. There is an order in which the changes must be made. Some measurements are given and some derived. And because I was working from a diagram with no explanation, I had to work through the order of the drafting in my mind. There were some ‘ahah” moments where it suddenly clicked in my mind as to the purpose of the drafting step; such as moving ease to a different place, drafting the sleeve head from the armhole measurements, etc. I am hopeful that if I do enough pattern drafting using Mrs Stylebook, I may reach a point where I have a feel for the location and magnitude of changes needed to produce my own design details. Below are the pattern pieces.

I used a sheer, supposedly rayon, fabric from Fabric Mart. It felt more like polyester, but it worked well for this wearable muslin. I do plan to decrease the sloper shoulder width based on how this blouse fits. Other than that I am very pleased. Especially with the amount of looseness in the blouse. It is just enough to look airy and cool, but not so much that it is overwhelming, which I sometimes experience with similar styles in the big 4 patterns.

My next project is the semi fitted jacket that uses the same sloper as the blouse. It is a bit more complex, with double pointed darts in the front and back, a standup collar, and two piece sleeves. My guys are away at camp next week , so in theory I should have lots of time in the evenings after work for sewing, or shopping, or going out with girls or......